Archive for November 7th, 2010

November 7, 2010



Progressivism [pruh-gres-uh-viz-uhm] is a political attitude advocating changes or reform through governmental action. Progressivism is often viewed in opposition to conservative or reactionary ideologies. The Progressive Movement began in cities with settlement workers and reformers who were interested in regulating tenement housing and child labor.

read more »

November 7, 2010

Secular Humanism

happy human

Secular Humanism is a philosophy that espouses reason, ethics, and the search for human fulfillment, and specifically rejects supernatural and religious dogma as the basis of morality and decision-making. Secular Humanism is a life stance that focuses on the way human beings can lead happy and functional lives. The term was coined in the 20th century by British worker’s rights advocate George Holyoake.

Fundamental to the concept is the strongly held belief that ideology—be it religious or political—must be examined by each individual and not simply accepted or rejected on faith. Along with this belief, an essential part of Secular Humanism is a continually adapting search for truth, primarily through science and philosophy. The humanist stance emphasises the unique responsibility facing humanity and the ethical consequences of human decisions.

November 7, 2010



An orrery [awr-uh-ree] is a mechanical device that illustrates the relative positions and motions of the planets and moons in the solar system in a heliocentric model. They are typically driven by a clockwork mechanism with a globe representing the Sun at the centre, and with a planet at the end of each of the arms.  The first modern orrery was built circa 1704 by George Graham and Thomas Tompion. Eisinga’s ‘Planetarium’ (actually, an orrery) was built from 1774 to 1781 by Eise Eisinga in his home in Franeker, in the Netherlands. It displays the planets across the width of a room’s ceiling, and has been in operation almost continually since it was created.

According to Cicero, the Greek philosopher Posidonius constructed an orrery that exhibited the diurnal motions of the sun, moon, and the five known planets. Cicero’s account was written in the first century BCE. The Antikythera mechanism is one of the first orreries. It is an ancient mechanical calculator designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was discovered in an ancient shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, between Kythera and Crete, and has been dated to about 150-100 BC. Technological artifacts of similar complexity would not be common for a thousand years.